FAQs

Below you’ll find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to collective bargaining and active negotiations at The Chronicle Herald. If you have a question that doesn’t appear below please contact us.

While the clause was removed, it was replaced with even stronger language that reflects the laws of the province.  What we have proposed is, in fact, more inclusive than what the union has called for. Rather than simply extending our commitment to equal pay for equal work on the basis of gender, we have enshrined a commitment to uphold the entire Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, which ensures equality based on factors including, but not limited to: gender, age, race, colour, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, ethnicity, marital status, political belief or affiliation. We believe this is fairer, more complete language that prevents exclusion of any kind and we firmly stand behind this change.

Created: Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The cost-savings plan that The Chronicle Herald presented to union members facilitates that will focus the newspapers operations squarely on operational sustainability for the future.

The most significant portion of the negotiations have centered around the the following aspects:

  • Moving newsroom staff from a five-day, 35 hour work week to a five-day, 40 hour work week.
  • The elimination of some positions that have become unnecessary and inefficient, specifically in the areas of layout and photography.
  • Replacing a company pension plan with a union sponsored plan and a defined contribution plan.
  • Protecting jobs by contracting in rather than contracting out the work of editors, as has been done at The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Postmedia.

Updated: Friday, January 22, 2016

After several months of negotiations, final conciliation talks between The Chronicle Herald and representatives of The Halifax Typographical Union Local 30130 came to an unsuccessful close on January 20, 2016.

The company tried to reach an agreement, but the union was unwilling to accept the changes put forward. As negotiations came to a close, the Herald offered the union the chance to continue to try and reach an agreement without a lockout, provided the union agreed not to strike. The Herald’s last offer would serve as the basis of employment until a final and binding contract could be reached.

The union rejected the company’s offer and served notice to strike effective 12:01 am on Saturday, January 23, 2016. This has resulted in a work stoppage.

Over the coming days and weeks, efforts to find a solution will be ongoing and updates will be provided as they are available.

Updated: Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Early this year there was a work stoppage involving a group of unionized workers in The Chronicle Herald’s printing operation.

The stoppage lasted approximately two weeks before the press operators and mechanics accepted the contract offer and returned to work. There was no impact on operations at the company during the labour stoppage and customers were unaffected by the process.

Updated: Friday, December 11, 2015

It remains our intention to resolve our contract dispute respectfully and collaboratively. We recognize and value newsroom employees as an integral part of The Chronicle Herald’s future as a relevant and valued media source.

Over the coming days and weeks, efforts to find a solution will be ongoing and we will keep you updated on our progress.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Halifax Typographical Union 30130 filed its intent to strike beginning 12:01 am on Saturday, January 23, 2016.

While Herald management will continue to find a solution over the coming days and weeks, a work stoppage is possible as of Saturday morning.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

Please refer to Information about Collective Bargaining for a description of the collective bargaining process.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Chronicle Herald is proud to be the largest independently owned newspaper company in Canada. In order to remain viable and competitive for the long-term, we need to adapt and respond to market demand and present day economic challenges.

Part of ensuring long-term sustainability is negotiating industry competitive salaries and benefits that allow the business to evolve and fulfill its current financial obligations. Achieving this goal is challenging for all involved, however it is a necessity for the future of our Company and the jobs of everyone who works at the company.

The Chronicle Herald is focused on evolving the business and remaining a relevant and valued media source for our subscribers, advertisers, employees and colleagues.

Created: Thursday, December 3, 2015

We have made the necessary adjustments to our operations to meet commitments to our customers and our community. The premium standard of our newspaper will be maintained and we commit that there will be no impact on the value of your subscription, the delivery to your home or advertisers’ investment.

Updated: Tuesday, March 8, 2016

During the labour disruption, The Chronicle Herald has plans in place to ensure that it can provide the same quality newspaper that you have come to expect.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

You can expect your newspaper will be printed and delivered to your home or business on time and with the same quality you have come to expect. Maintaining normal business operations during the work stoppage is a top priority.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

In order to remain viable and competitive for the long-term, we need to adapt and respond to market demand and present day economic challenges.

Part of ensuring long-term sustainability is negotiating industry competitive salaries and benefits that allow the business to evolve and fulfill its financial obligations. Achieving this goal is challenging for all involved, however it is a necessity for the future of our Company and the jobs of everyone who works at the company.

The Chronicle Herald is focused on evolving the business and remaining a relevant and valued media source for our subscribers, advertisers, employees and colleagues.

Updated: Thursday, December 17, 2015

During the labour stoppage we have plans in place to make sure staff at all locations are able to get to work without disruption. All managers have been briefed on general practices and guidelines during a strike period. If you have any questions or concerns at any time, please speak with your manager.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

Some items discussed may affect staff and non-union employees, including pensions. However most items being discussed would have no impact on non-union employees. This is no different than any other Collective Bargaining session with unions at The Chronicle Herald.

Created: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

During the labour stoppage, union members are likely to picket the various Herald offices. This is a perfectly normal – and legal – practice and we expect that picketers will conduct themselves professionally and safely at all times.

All managers have been briefed on general practices and guidelines during work stoppage in order to ensure the safety of all employees.

We all have a job to do to ensure the continued viability of the newspaper and The Chronicle Herald is working hard to ensure that there will be no disruption in your ability to come to work.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Halifax Herald was amongst the earliest adopters of company-sponsored defined benefit plans in Nova Scotia. The former Publisher saw the pension plan as one of his defining contributions to the lives of employees who worked at this newspaper. We still do. But the Herald’s DB plan is now one of a small handful of similar plans in the province and is in need of change as both the size and the volatility of the liabilities jeopardize the company continuing to operate.

The company remains committed to assisting employees with saving toward their retirement income and the changes it proposes will ensure pension benefits earned to date remain safe by continuing to fund the Herald Pension Plan. Going forward, the Herald plans to fund future retirement benefits in either a union-sponsored plan (often referred to as a “target plan”) or a defined contribution plan.

Created: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

There are basically two types of registered pension plans: Defined Benefit, and Defined Contribution. The key to understanding the type of plan is all in the name.

Defined Benefit Pension Plan (DB) – The income you receive at retirement under a DB plan is predetermined and is usually based on a formula involving your years of service and earnings. You receive annual statements indicating the benefit on your retirement date. In these types of programs, your company hires pension managers to manage the assets and you have no active involvement.

Defined Contribution Pension Plan (DC) – The income you receive at retirement under a DC plan is not pre-determined. It’s based on the assets within your individual retirement plan account at the time you retire. In DC plans, your company makes a contribution based on a formula, which may or may not require you to make some type of matching contribution. These contributions are usually based on a fixed percentage of your salary or on a specific dollar amount and are deposited into an account in your name. DC plans offer you choice and flexibility.

Under a DC plan, you decide what investments your contributions are invested in from a selection of investment options available within your plan. This allows you to create an individual portfolio suited to your own investment goals and tolerance for risk.

The amount of money you have in your group plan account at retirement is a result of how much has been contributed over the years and then how much the investments have made. Defined contribution plans come in a number of forms and may also include Group RRSPs and Employee Profit Sharing Plans. Or, they may also include a Non-Registered plan as an option to allow you to save outside of your RRSP. The operation of these plan types is similar to selecting the investment options for allocating contributions.

Whether your plan is a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan or a combination of both – which many plans are these days – your group plan is an important part of your retirement investment strategy. Knowing which type of plan you have and understanding how it works will help you determine how it can contribute to your retirement income.

Updated: Friday, December 11, 2015

In a defined benefit plan the plan sponsor (i.e. The Herald) is required to ensure that the plan is properly funded on both a “going concern” as well as a “solvency” basis.  The first is premised on whether the plan has sufficient assets to meet current obligations and on this basis the plan at the Herald is more than fully funded.  However, in addition, solvency funding is premised on what would happen if the company went out of business and on this basis the Herald plan is approximately 83% funded. This means that the amount of pension that would be paid would be less than expected if the company went out of business today.

It is the requirement to fund solvency deficits that has become volatile, large and uncontrollable, mostly because of falling interest rates which have increased liabilities.  Over the past several years the company has put in more than $10 million to fund these deficits; money that otherwise could have been invested in jobs and other projects to improve the viability of the business.

You should be aware that the public sector plans like the Public Service Superannuation Plan (for government employees) and the Teachers’ Pension Plan as well as those for universities and municipalities are not required by law to fund on a solvency basis; neither are union-sponsored “target” plans. However, private plans like that of the Herald are required to fund on a different basis.

The unpredictability of, particularly, the solvency valuation means that the company has no control and no ability to manage its pension costs.  The result is that millions of dollars are required to be pumped into a pension (normally solvency) deficit within a short period that could be erased with a small change upward in interest rates.

Union-sponsored “target” pension plans and defined contribution plans are predictable as neither have any funding requirements beyond the agreed upon contribution rate, in which both employees and the company contribute.  In a defined contribution plan the money is managed by the employee (with professional advice) and the employee selects the portfolio that best suits their plans for retirement.

The change proposed by the Company – either to a defined contribution plan or to a union-sponsored plan – will minimize the unpredictability of future funding for the Company; the costs of which are undermining the Company’s ability to sustain itself.

Created: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The company is proposing that future accruals move from the defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan or to a union-sponsored “target” plan. All future accruals, including all future hires, would accrue benefits according to the new plan.

All employees would be affected by this change and, as legally required, negotiations are underway with the union representing the unionized plan members.

Created: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nothing. Pension benefits accrued to date will not change and the company will continue to make required pension plan payments. Any future accruals would be made into your DC or target plan.

In future you would receive a statement from each pension plan indicating the value of the plan and other relevant details each year.

Created: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The timing isn’t known yet. The company is in negotiations with the newsroom union and the pension benefit is among the items under discussion. It is hoped that the parties can reach an agreement on the pension and the other monetary and non-monetary issues in the remaining days of negotiation in December.

If agreement can be reached, the changes to future accruals could happen before July 2016.

Created: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Maintaining a high quality publication is our primary concern during this period of time. To ensure that, we have made arrangements to prevent disruptions to the newspaper operations and to protect the value of your advertising investment.

If you have any concerns or questions at any time, please contact your sales representative.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

In order to remain viable and competitive for the long-term, we need to adapt and respond to market demand and present day economic challenges.

Part of ensuring long-term sustainability is negotiating industry competitive salaries and benefits that allow the business to evolve and fulfill its financial obligations. Achieving this goal is challenging for all involved, however it is a necessity for the future of our company and the jobs of everyone who works at the company.

The Chronicle Herald is focused on evolving the business and remaining a relevant and valued media source for our subscribers, advertisers, employees and colleagues.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016

Circulation was not impacted by the labour disruption in early 2015. We will be working hard to make sure that this work stoppage is managed as a purely business matter and that customers – whether subscribers or advertisers – will be unaffected by the strike.

Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016